The age old question on if CSGO cases are predetermined before you open them may now be answered with a ruling made earlier in the year confirming that loot box gambling is illegal in the Netherlands. With this Belgium also issued a similar ruling shortly after which locked these players out of the market place and steam trading between players forcing Valve to do something about their loot boxes inside CSGO and Dota 2. Valve decided to update Dota 2 where players from these regions had loot boxes show the item that they contain before it is opened. The downside to this is though is that you cannot get another item from that box until you’ve opened the one that you can see limiting people to just one loot box. Since the ruling, players in the Netherlands are able to use the marketplace again however they cannot open CSGO cases. Making most players happier with their situation now compared to the limit that was previously held on these players.
The new loot box opening system for the Netherlands harbors some problems though for both Valve and it’s players. Some players may be turned off the game knowing what their next item they pay for is really bad will be and not being able to get something else until they open that loot box. Alternatively it could have the opposite affect with players opening a constant steam waiting for that good item to appear very similar to how the loot box system worked before only that they know what item they’re getting before they pay for it.
Dota 2 and CSGO’s loot boxes work extremely similar to one another. Having Dota 2’s items show up before the case is opened may very well tell us that each case already knows what’s inside of it before we open it. The alternate theory is that the item is generated as soon as you press the unlock button before it flicks through the guns that you could get inside of the game like in the image above. Unfortunately there is not official statement from Valve themselves so the truth to the answer is that we just don’t know. We have evidence of the packs being predetermined with the loot box gambling ruling in Netherlands update but it could be different for the rest of the world before this update and still different after it.